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All reviews - Movies (12) - TV Shows (1)

Shaft (1971) review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 11 August 2014 03:04 (A review of Shaft (1971))

The original Shaft came out in the early to late 70's and starred Richard Roundtree. What many people don't know is that like James Bond, Shaft was based on a series of novels. The author in fact does say that the character of John Shaft, is an African American version of James Bond.

This movie had several sequels including a followup in 2000 starring Samuel L.Jackson, yes - Mace Windu himself, as John Shaft - who is the nephew to John Shaft. Confused? Don't you worry, I was a little bit confused at first too.

Worth noting however is the theme song which is sung by Issac Hayes, who you might know as the voice of Chef on South Park. Well he was until he quit the show after the episode Trapped In The Closet took a jab at scientology, - unfortunately after that he passed away after the Return Of Chef episode. Chef is also a boss in South Park: The Stick Of Truth, which is a game I heavily recommend playing.

There is a lot to say about this movie, its sequels and everything else but this movie is so legendary and badass it would take a whole separate review just for it, I give it ten of ten and two monstrous clawed thumbs up. You simply must watch this movie if you haven't already.

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Bram Stoker's Dracula review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 5 August 2014 04:54 (A review of Bram Stoker's Dracula)

Allow me to take you to a time when vampires were kickass and weren’t pixies in disguise, where CGI was used sparingly and where monster movies were trucking epic!

Ah, the 90’s! Much like the 80’s, the 90’s was a kickass decade for horror and monster movies in general. I mean even though there were some ridiculous ones, there were ones that were epic and made a huge impact. 5 different monster movies all came out in this decade that helped change the face of horror forever.

Those movies were Sleepy Hollow, The Mummy, Wolf, Frankenstein, and today’s subject Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola as you all know directed two movies starring the late Marlon Brando - The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, but also worked alongside George Lucas to produce Captain EO for Walt Disney World which of course starred another late great legend - Michael Jackson. I even read that Coppola worked a little bit behind the scenes on Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. Coppola is also Nicolas Cage’s uncle - i’m not kidding btw, he really IS Nic Cage’s uncle. You see Nicolas Cage’s actual name was Nicolas Coppola but he changed his last name to Cage - as a nod to the Marvel character Luke Cage. Coppola directed all three Godfather movies as well.

The tale of the legendary iconic vampire known as Count Dracula has been adapted many times, as well as parodied and paid homage to numerous times. I first became familiar with the subject of today’s review thanks to The Simpsons and their parody of it from Treehouse Of Horror IV. Along with Morgan Leger’s review of this movie on his show Vaulting.

The history behind this legendary vampire goes way back and it all goes back to a man known as Vlad Tepes/Vlad The Impaler. Released in 1992, titled Bram Stoker’s Dracula - this Academy Award winning movie brought us a take on the classic vampire of lore that was more closer to the source material.

The story takes place in England, the era is 1462 and Prince Vlad/Dracula (played by Gary Oldman) has returned from war, having won the night attack battle against the Turks - to find that his wife committed suicide after a false report of his death. Enraged by this, Vlad renounces the Lord and vows that he will rise from the grave to avenge her. In a fit of rage, he stabs the cross and drinks the blood from it.

Flash forward to 1897, where Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) takes in Dracula as a client to R.M Renfield, who has become insane and was sent to a mental asylum run by Dr. Jack Seward'. Now, here’s a little bit of an interesting fact for you - there is a real life condition known as Renfield's Syndrome which is the obsession with drinking blood, such as getting excitement for the taste of it or getting turned on by it.

Jonathan travels to Romania to arrange Vlad’s estate acquisition in London, including Carfax Abbey and he meets the count himself, who discovers a picture of Harker’s fiancee Mina (Winona Ryder aka Lydia Deitz) and believes her to be a reincarnation of his late wife. Dracula leaves Jonathan to be seduced by his many brides. Damn are those brides sexy as hell.

Dracula takes on the form of a wolf-like creature when he arrives in London, amid a fierce thunderstorm and then uses his hypnotic powers to seduce, entrance and knock up Lucy Westenra who Mina Harker is staying with her while her fiance Jonathan is over in Transylvania. He then bites her.

Over time, Lucy is slowly being turned into a vampire as indicated by her deteriorating health and her change in behavior, which prompts Mina’s old suitors Quincey Morris and Dr Sedward along with her old fiancee Arthur Holmwood to call Dr Abraham Van Helsing, played by Anthony Hopkins. Who recognizes her as a victim of a vampire attack.

One of the many things I love about this particular movie is how much attention it pays to classic vampire lore, as although most vampires are typically seen with the ability to transform into a bat - in classic vampire lore it is indicated that vampires can also turn into wolves, smoke/mist, or sometimes swarms of insects. It’s even implied that if an improperly disposed of werewolf were to die, he/she would actually come back as a vampire.

In the daylight, Drac appears in his more youthful and handsome appearance and charms Mina. And handsome is right. The funny thing was I thought that was Johnny Depp at first before I knew it was Gary Oldman. Even though this movie came out before Johnny Depp became known for his roles in movies like Edward Scissorhands. Young Drac looks quite yummy if I do say so myself….it’s not hard to see where Russell Brand stole...oops, I mean ‘borrowed’ his look from.

They receive word from Jonathan who has escaped from the castle and recovered at a covenant, Mina travels to Transylvania to marry Drac. In his fury, Drac turns Lucy into a vampire. Lucy is killed out of mercy by Dr Abraham Van Helsing, Arthur Holmwood, Dr Sedward, and Quincey Morris the following night.

I am not going to go over the rest of the plot because well this movie is too good for me to spoil, plus everyone has already seen this movie and they are familiar with it already. I mean who isn’t familiar with the tale of Dracula? No one? Exactly!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is in my opinion one of the most elegant monster movies i’ve ever seen, everything about it is just so visually stunning, classy, and well made. I love the sets, I love the props, I love the costumes, I love the musical score, I love the acting and I adore the makeup fx. No wonder this movie won a few Academy Awards, it deserved them for being such a marvelous piece of work.

Sure, some people have made fun of this movie because they thought the acting was too over-the-top and have even made fun of Keanu’s ‘English accent’ , but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it. It’s one of my personal favorite vampire movies and always will be.

Last but not least...I ADORE this movie’s ending theme ‘Love Song For A Vampire’ by Annie Lennox, it’s so sad but also moving and an overall beautiful piece. The lyrics are very moving as well, well written and full of emotion. *sings* Once I had the rarest rose, that ever deigned to bloom. Cruel winter chilled the bud, and stole my flower too soon. Oh loneliness, oh hopelessness, to search the ends of time. For there is in all the world, no greater love than mine! Oh love oh love oh love, still falls the rain (still falls the rain), oh love oh love oh love, oh love, still falls the night (still falls the night), oh love oh love, oh love oh love.. be mine forever…(be mine foreeeever!), oh love, oh love, oh love, oh looove.

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Blues Brothers 2000 review

Posted : 5 years, 11 months ago on 15 August 2012 04:57 (A review of Blues Brothers 2000)

Hi i'm Nathan aka monstermaster13 and I remember it so you don't have to. Today's review is of a shameful attempt at making a sequel to one of the best 80's movies ever.

Remember Jake and Elwood Blues and their mission from god? Of course you do. Who doesn't love those Blues Brothers and their musical mayhem induced misadventures? John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd made one hell of a comedic duo and the original was one of John Landis's best works next to An American Werewolf In London, Animal House, Oscar and The Three Amigos.

This movie is nothing more than an attempt to try and follow up to the original - and it fails.

John Landis returns to direct even though some say that his directing career sort of went downhill in the late 80's (specifically some say it was after the accident that killed Vic Morrow and those kids during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie) and onto the 90's (although Oscar with Sly Stallone was moderately good - heck Siskel and Ebert both gave it a thumbs-up).

Dan Akyroyd returns as writer and star of this movie as Elwood Blues, at the beginning of this movie Elwood is just getting out of prison when he recieves news from the Penguin (no, not the Batman villain, the nun from the first movie) that his partner Jake Blues has unfortunately passed away. This is never actually explained in the movie at all even though in the opening credits it says it is dedicated to the memory of John Belushi as well as to John Candy and Cab Calloway, who also passed away before this movie got made.

So Elwood tries to get the rest of the old band together, minus Jake of course. Along the way we meet the new guys: First of which is Mighty Mack played by John Goodman. (Come on Goodman, you're far too good to be in a movie like this).

We also met our Tagalong Kid character who goes by the name Buster. So....we don't have John Belushi but instead we have John Goodman and a little kid? Something tells me this is going to be like how some Power Ranger fans thought that Power Rangers Turbo killed the franchise - you know, the whole kid who joins the team even though he's just a kid?

We also meet Cabby who is reluctant to join until he recieves a message from above and is instantly transformed into a Blues Brothers band member. The light shines down on him and he seems to be floating for some reason. I'd hate to steal a joke from Film Brain but.....SYMBOLISM!

Next we have some of the zaniest and messed up car chase scenes ever- the chase scenes in the original were truly spectacular but here they're just completely cartoonish. Such as the Bluesmobile being able to go underwater.

I know the Bluesmobile was able to do all those stunts in the original but this is just taking it a bit too far.

We get it, the Bluesmobile is an awesome car - it can survive anything. This is completely and utterly insane even by this logic. What? Is it it like Linkara's magic gun or something? Is it possessed ala Christine?

After all that nonsence we get to see a few returning cameos mainly by James Brown (r.i.p godfather of soul) and Aretha Franklin. And I admit the musical numbers in this are pretty awesome.

There's also a scene where the band go to see a voodoo queen/priestess by the name of Queen Mousette (this scene is later referenced/paid homage to in the second Pirates of the Carribean movie).

So the voodoo priestess asks the band if they know any calapyso songs to which Elwood tells her that the band can play all kinds of musical but to the calalypso part he says no (this is the second time Dan Akyroyd has actually said no when answering a powerful being such as a ghost, deity or sorceress - the first one being in Ghostbusters).

Because of this she transforms them into green skinned zombies that sing calapyso songs and I admit, their performance of Funky Nassau is pretty good. But this is just flat out of nowhere. It's like I'm expecting MJ to make an appearance and start dancing along with them (hey...it would be Thriller: The Sequel).

And this just comes out of nowhere. So...yeah...it's...a Big Lipped Aligator Moment! Also a few of the band members get turned into stone. Don't tell me Queen Mousette is actually part Gorgon!

There are also several scenes in which several more of the ever-growing enemy list for the bad show up including some russians who get turned into mice. Oh I get it...Queen Mousette is trying to be like Anjelica Huston in The Witches.

There are more wacky car chase scenes, some more musical numbers and Elwood gives a speech which is extremely epic as well as some goofy slapstick including the band getting covered in goo (most likely the same stuff the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man was made out of).

And after all this - the band finally get to perform as the movie ends, during the end credits we see a performance by James Brown along with the band.

So that was Blues Brothers 2000, and was it any good? Not really. While it's not as bad as anything by the likes of Seltzer and Friedberg or for that matter Adam Sandler movies (Billy Madison is an exception), it's still pretty iffy overall - the musical numbers are fun and there are some good scenes but most of it is completely weird.

I admit that John Goodman does well as Mighty Mack but to be honest, I miss John Belushi. He was part of the driving force behind the original movie and the SNL sketches that this and the original were based on and it's just not the same without him.

Also why doesn't it ever explain the cause of Jake's death? I'm serious. We don't ever get an explaination for this at all.

Dan Akyroyd does well but I think even he knows how bad this movie was going to be, as for the other performers - well they did rather well but again....you can't top the original.

John Landis - is one of my favorite directors and while I loved his work on An American Werewolf In London, Animal House, the original Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Oscar and The Three Amigos - I have a feeling that he personally regrets making this movie. I also have a feeling he doesn't view this is as an actual sequel at all much like with An American Werewolf In Paris.

The movie is okay....but it will never be as good as the original. Maybe i'm looking at this through Nostalgia goggles but i personally believe and know that the original is and always will be the best.

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